FunkyStickman wrote: . . . I tried out my sandblasting setup during lunch today, it's been 2 hours and I'm still finding grains of sand on my person! . . .
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My Intro <((><
Jesucristo es mi Señor y Salvador!
Thanks, it was mostly in my hair and all over my clothes... I've never used a sandblaster before, and it took about 5 seconds to realize I needed full-face goggles and something over my mouth and nose. But for $3 I got a 50# bag of washed, dried, and filtered play sand to use. Works like a charm so far!
I officially have the sickness now, I was looking at Hozan spoke threaders, thinking "Yeah, sure, I could justify buying one of those..."
Here's the beginnings of sandblasting the frame. It's not as fast as I'd hoped, mainly because my compressor can't keep up. I have huge industrial stuff at work I could use... hmmm....
Here's a before and after of the fork legs:
I'm tossing around ideas for replacing the fork legs. I can get 8 feet of 1.25" aluminum 6106 tubing for about $20, it would be about as strong but weigh half as much. Anybody tried that before?
Okay, this next part is not really talking to anyone... I'm just laying out my thought process for building this.
Basically, I want to make this bike ridable for long distances. I've removed the chainguard and rear fender mounts, and will remove the welded kickstand. The rear wheel is a 20x4" wheel, and the rear hub is extremely wide so the chain will clear the 4" wide rim. The rear dropouts are 170mm apart, and normal bicycles are 135mm. Big problem! No aftermarket hubs will fit without narrowing the rear end except the Sturmey SX-RK3, SX-RB3, or a Chris King tandem hub. If I had the choice between a $150 3-speed, or a $150 8-speed, I'll take the 8-speed.
I'm also wanting to convert the rear wheel to a 24" (like the WCC bikes) for better gearing and smoother rolling. But if I put a taller tire in the back, it will jack up the rear of the bike, and I don't want that.
So I will solve this with a single solution: 1/4" aluminum plates to raise the rear axle. I can get a foot of 4" wide 1/4" thick 6160 bar stock for about $8. I'll bolt a 4x6" plate into each dropout, sticking straight up, and cut new dropout slots about 4" higher than the original dropout slots. This also narrows the rear of the bike from 170mm to about 155mm, which is close enough to use standard 135mm hubs. I could even s-bend them slightly to narrow it further. This will let me use hubs like the Sturmey-Archer 8-speed rear hub, or any cheap 3-speed. Lace this to a 24" rim and a 24x3" whitewall, and bam! We're in business. The resulting rear end would actually sit about a half inch lower than the original 20" wheel. I could even cut the dropout extensions with decorative stuff. For strength, I'd probably make the new dropout slots ovals (not opening to the outside) for strength.
The only problem with this setup is the lower chain would rub on the frame. Thankfully, someone on RatRodBikes figured this out! I can put a cheap chain tensioner over the chainstay.
So now that I've got most of the back end figured out, I need to turn my attention to the middle and front. I'll probably just use the comfort saddle I found (recovered) and a layback seatpost to get it where I want it. And for the front, well, I'd like to extend the forks and make them lighter... but I will probably re-use the stock fork and lace up a 27" front wheel to keep the bike proportioned correctly. If I have the money, I might replace the fork legs with aluminum. I wonder how many choppers have been done with a 27" front wheel? I might have to extend the forks anyway.
I've found aluminum handlebars that I like too, so once I've got everything assembled, I'm expecting the bike to look like a chopper, but ride like a road machine. More pics to come!
Okay, quick update. While I was removing the V-brake bosses and the welded-on kickstand, I decided to measure what the bike would sit like with a 24" in the back, instead of the stock 20x4. Lo and behold, it puts the axle only 1" higher than the 20"! Mostly because the rear tire is soooo huge. I honestly thought it would be higher than that. That's what I get for not actually measuring it! "Well," I figured, "I can deal with one inch higher in the back, and if I put a MTB rim in front, that puts the front one inch higher as well!" So you can imagine what I'm thinking! I have a set of spare 24" and 26" aluminum rims with junk hubs, so this is totally doable. I just need to re-space the rear dropouts.
Here's some shots of my (slow) progress.
Cut off the kickstand, look at the rust under there!
24" next to the Stingray 20x4".
Looks a lot bigger, but the axle's only an inch higher. Look how rough the Stingray spokes and hub are.
The frame, 90% stripped/sanded and almost ready to paint.
I'm still scrounging Ebay for a 7 or 8-speed Sturmey or Nexus hub. Hope to have more progress soon!
For the record, I'm loving this! I haven't built a bike from the ground up in years!!
I did a little more work on the bike tonight. I finished smoothing the parts I cut off, and narrowed the rear dropouts to 135(ish)mm. More importantly, they're evenly bent, and the bike should track straight. I may bend them a tad more and parallel the dropouts, which makes chain adjustments much easier.
I also disassembled the fork crown, and since one clamp bolt was missing, I cleaned and re-tapped the threads, and I will pick up a new pack of about ten M6x1 hex bolts for it. Every bolt on the fork is an M6, except for the two "stop" bolts, which I removed and will replace with proper fork tube bumpers.
I'm loading the frame into the car to bring to work... we have several sand blast cabinets I can use after hours, and the thought of finishing the frame and fork legs is outweighing my desire to do it all at home. I just want the thing painted, so I can start working on the wheels and drivetrain. I won't bore you with pics yet, there's not much to see except my messy workbench.
I'm still waiting on the sale of a few items before I can buy new tires, chain, hubs, spokes, seatpost, etc.
Small update: I was getting along very slowly with sandblasting (though it's great for hard-to-reach spots) and wire wheels, so I bought a 3M Scotch-brite abrasive disk. Man! I was not expecting it to work that quickly, or that well. But work it did! I was able to completely strip the fork legs and frame in one night. The decals were particularly stubborn, but a combination of the disk and a sanding sponge managed to get them all off. The parts are primed with etching primer, and awaiting black paint and parts to become a bike again!
Painted the frame and fork legs today!
Gonna look good with the clear red fork crowns! I might paint the rims clear red to match instead of bright red...
About 5 pounds (not exaggerating) of stuff I won't use off the bike, including the kickstand and fender mount.
And here's the seat I found in the trash. No, it's not a real springer, but for free, meh. It'll at least be comfy when I recover it.
More fun while I'm waiting for the paint to cure! So what do you do when you've got a couple of old 7-speed freewheels laying around? You take an air hammer and disassemble them!
Man, look at all those spacers... that gives me an idea!
Single speed freewheel! I got 20T, 18T, 16T, and 14T interchangeable cogs!!
On the wheel!
Looks like this would clear a 3" tire, eh?
Much thanks! I can't wait till it's finished, I'm gonna ride it everywhere.
And the fender is too wide for the 24" rear wheel now, so it's going away.
For those of you who read the backstory on this build, thank you. My wife talked to the friend who we suspect has MS, and she says the specialists are 90% sure she has the disease. I'm attacking it with fervor now, I'm sure I'll be able to raise the money to ride the bike in the MS Tour for Cure in October. I want to ride the Chopper a total of 150 miles when it's all said and done. I'm not trying to break records, just want to be able to make it. I'm starting training rides tomorrow, and will do my very best to be ready for it. The sooner I get the bike done, the sooner I can start putting miles on it, and working the kinks out.
As for the bike, I started cleaning the fork crowns this weekend. I chased all the crown bolts through a die, but I'm still missing one... I might just pick up a whole new set to be on the safe side. I got a confirmation on some items I'm going to sell to fund this build, but t will be 3-4 weeks before I get the money. I may buy the parts now so I can finish it in time, and just recoup the money later.
The frame is done. The bottom bracket is ready to go back in, the headset top cap/race is extremely pitted and rusted... I may just replae that one part so I can slap the fork back together. I'm tossing around the idea of using the MTB rear wheel, re-truing it with zero dish, and using the 7-speed freewheel on it. It's cheap, I have everything needed, but will need a little more work... or I could go with the Sturmey 8-speed rear hub with drum and all the coolness that goes with that. I'm still planning on putting drum front hub on it, and giving it a special lacing pattern... I've never done a non-standard laced wheel before, and this is the perfect time to give it a shot!
I found some padded imitation leather (a kid's detatchable jacket hood, actually... I live in southern Louisiana, no need for it) which I will try to recover the seat with. The original pedals are in great shape, just going to shine them up. Those, and the BB and crank/chainring will go on this week, and I'll order the parts to finish the seatpost, and start work on the wheels. The wheels, by far, will take the most time and work, but it will totally make the difference when it's done. I've never seen a drum front wheel done with a 3-leading, 3-trailing spoke pattern.
I know it's uncool to post updates without pics, but I thought the update for my motivation warranted it. As soon as I get some hardware, you guys will get the whole shebang!
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